Thermal expansion of mantle and core materials at very high pressures

Thomas S. Duffy, Thomas J. Ahrens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The thermal expansivities (α) of MgO and high‐pressure phases of CaO, CaMgSi2O6, and Fe at ultrahigh pressure are obtained by comparing existing shock compression and temperature measurements to 300 K compression curves constructed from ultrasonic elasticity and static compression data. For MgO, α can be represented by: α = ρoγoCVo/ρ)0.5±0.5/KT where γ is the Grüneisen parameter, CV is the constant volume specific heat, KT is the isothermal bulk modulus, and ρ is the density. Using this expression, the thermal expansivity of MgO is 28‐32×10−6K−1 at the pressure of the top of the lower mantle and 10‐16×10−6K−1 at its base (at 2000 K). New data for α of ε‐Fe, together with an inner core temperature of 6750 K, constrain the density of the inner core to be 5±2% less than the density of ε‐Fe, implying the inner core contains a light element.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1106
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 7 1993
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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